Mark Zuckerberg: Leadership Style And Qualities

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Table of contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Leadership Style and Qualities
  3. Motivating Employees
  4. Empowering
  5. Ethical Standards
  6. Risks
  7. Conclusion
  8. References


Mark Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 in Dobbs Ferry New York and is an entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is also the founder of the well-known social media website and app called Facebook. This well-known social media website started off as a site that connected attendees of Harvard University, the college Mark had attended. After its success at the college it was then made public in 2004. Since then Mark Zuckerberg has experienced many trials, errors and success. These experiences have all assisted in developing the leadership skills that Mark Zuckerberg possess today. However, while Zuckerberg does possess many attributes that make an excellent leader such as the ability to motivate and empower employees. There are some crucial skills that need Zuckerberg should work on in order to ensure the future success of the company.

Leadership Style and Qualities

There are many leadership qualities that Mark Zuckerberg possess that have largely contributed to the continued success of Facebook. Through the company’s success it shows that his current strategies and leadership qualities are very strong. One major factor that has contributed to its success is Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style. His style can be described as democratic, belligerent, and encouraging. This is because Zuckerberg has a tendency to focus on sensitivity to group relationships. He also allows employees to select their projects and set their own work schedule. He consistently motivates encourages and his group members to share ideas and suggestions. As a democratic leader Mark Zuckerberg also encourages better job satisfaction and high levels of productivity that are based on innovation and creativity. Zuckerberg also utilizes his five P’s elements for success. These five P’s include passion, purpose, people, product, and partnerships (Chris, 2015).

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These five Ps all serve a different purpose and assist in displaying why Zuckerberg has leadership qualities. The first P or passion is included because passion is a driving factor that fuels perseverance and important quality for leaders to have. Having passion for what he does allowed him to work though difficulties and taking each failure as a learning opportunity instead of giving up. The second P or purpose reminds Zuckerberg of what he is in business for which allows him to make better decisions about who to hire and making a better product.

People is the third p and is included because to Zuckerberg employees are an important part of a business and should be allowed the freedom and take risks. Product is the fourth p and it is included to reinforce the commitment Zuckerberg has into Facebook. Partnerships are also included because Zuckerberg recognizes his weaknesses and brings in the right people to form partnerships in order to be successful (Walter, n.d.).

Mark Zuckerberg can also be described as a transformational leader. This is because he motivates his employees through goal setting, offering incentives, and providing opportunities that allow his employees to grow. Additionally, Zuckerberg inspires and empowers his employees with a clear vision and goal (Clark, 2014). A clear vision and goal allow employees to be guided by what is to be achieved and how they can contribute. Moreover, employees are also taught coding techniques that have been developed by the company to enable them complete projects more efficiently. This exemplifies how important intellectual stimulation is to Zuckerberg as a transformational leader (Wixson, 2016).

Additional attributes of Zuckerberg include his ability to remove traditional hierarchies. Zuckerberg sees all employees as equal and encourages them to share ideas. By removing hierarchies, he is also simultaneously removing barriers between executives and other employees. Furthermore, he has legitimacy and is deeply involved with the company.

Motivating Employees

The ability to motivate employees is integral to the success of a manager and ultimately the success of a company. This is because motivation represents an employee’s desire and commitment to perform. Managers at Facebook including Zuckerberg understand this which is why there is a greater emphasis on motivation strategies. Moreover, their motivation strategies are integrating which places an emphasis on both employee satisfaction and performance equally. This can be shown through examples of how Facebook is able to motivate their employees. One common way the Zuckerberg motivates his employees is by offering many incentives. Zuckerberg understands that each individual needs to be motivated by what they find exciting. Therefore, he offers a wide range of incentives in an attempt to make everyone happy. For example, he provides engineers the opportunity to create the best products and gives business executives large financial bonuses. Zuckerberg also rewards employees that exceptionally surpass or meet their goals by doubling their stock option. However, if an employee performs poorly or consistently fails to meet goals they are suspended or terminated. This shows how Zuckerberg utilizes the integrating approach as he puts a great emphasis on satisfaction by offering great incentives but also values performance and punishes those who fail to meet the company standards (A Study of the Management Style of Mark Zuckerberg, 2018).

Additional incentives offered by the company include offering free food and a meritocratic promotion system. Employees at Facebook are also motivated by the flexibility that they are offered. For example, employees are allowed to choose their working hours instead of enforcing strict hours and employees are given the option to work from home whenever needed. Facebook also provides its employees with laptops that allow workers to change their working locations whenever they need (Wood, 2018). Furthermore, Facebook also utilizes an engagement-centric approach to keep employees happy. This approach puts a greater emphasis on the strengths of its employees in order to promote motivation. The company believes that a greater focus on strengths is a big driver for an employee’s engagement with their job which in turn is a primary factor in their performance (Hoefflinger, 2017).


The ability to empower employees is another attribute that successful managers must have. The ability to empower others means providing freedom for people to successfully do what they want to do, rather than getting them to do what you want them to do. Managers who empower people remove controls, constraints, and boundaries for them instead of motivating, directing, or influencing their behavior. Additionally, empowered employees have shown to be more productive, engaged, satisfied, more innovative, and create higher quality products and services in comparison to unempowered employees. Through successful empowerment managers can multiply their effectiveness and become more successful. Facebook is able to empower its employees by giving them the freedom to choose the projects that they work on. Additionally, Facebook empowers its employees by encouraging employees to share their ideas and allowing employees to point out f

Ethical Standards

Ethical standards are important for any leader or manger to have. This is because it is ultimately the leader’s duty to institutionalize ethical values into the organization. Moreover, the leader should be the focus and biggest practitioner of the ethical rules in leadership approach and decision making. An ethical leader should also utilize a style of leadership that encourages universal standards such as reliability, impartiality and justice. It should also reinforce these values through communication with viewers and supports the development of moral thought (Bekir, 2017). However, whether or not Mark Zuckerberg can be called an ethical leader is questionable. This is mainly because while Facebook has a corporate responsibility to evolve and keep in touch with the changing business environment and has adopted a time-progressing policy that keeps up with environmental issues. He has still been involved in numerous scandals that seriously questioned his ethical standing.

One scandal that questioned his morals was when Zuckerberg refused to remove content that promoted Holocaust deniers from the website (Olen, 2018). Zuckerberg had also been involved in a scandal where he was accused of infringing upon the rights of Facebook users. This scandal resulted in Zuckerberg facing serious legal trouble. Zuckerberg has also stated that someone can be unethical and still legal and that is the way he lives his life (Randy, 2019). This is a serious issue because this can lead to an unethical corporate culture. Furthermore, the unjustifiable unethical engagement in certain acts that the CEO makes as an individual drags the entire business into disgrace which ultimately damages its future opportunities. Some of the reasons why Zuckerberg acted unethically cannot be corroborated and it leaves many questions regarding his ethical conduct as an executive. A contributing factor to his behavior could be the fact that he is young and inexperienced. However, with age advancement, maybe he will find it appropriate to act more responsibly from informed experience as a CEO (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Executive Ethics, 2019). My recommendation for Zuckerberg would be to reevaluate his morals and implement better values into his organization in order to prevent further scandals.


Zuckerberg could also be more inclined to take part in questionable behavior because he is also a big risk taker. He even advises his employees to take also engage in risk taking behavior. This is partly because he is a big believer that risks are likely to result in rewards and has even said that “the greatest risk is not taking any risks.” However, he also advised to not take big risks too often. I agree that it is important to take risks but, I would recommend Zuckerberg to include clearer directions to employees about what constitutes a “big” risk and how often should they engage in this behavior.


It is very evident that Mark Zuckerberg possess many attributes that make him a successful leader. However, it is also very evident that his integrity and ethical standards need to be altered. The previous scandals have been detrimental to the company and in order to fully recover and prevent future situations from arising it would be of great interest for Zuckerberg to change his ways. Failing to do so could result in a corrupt corporate culture or even the removal of his position as CEO.


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  2. Bekir, K. (2017). The Impact of Ethical Climate and Ethical Leadership on Ethical Codes Practices. International Journal of Management Economics & Business, 563-573.
  3. Chris, J. (2015, August 25). 5 Mark Zuckerberg Leadership Style Commandments . Retrieved from
  4. Clark, E. (2014, November 24). Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook Leadership. Retrieved from
  5. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Executive Ethics. (2019). Retrieved from
  6. Hoefflinger, M. (2017, April 11). How Facebook keeps its employees the happiest, according to a former inside. Retrieved from
  7. Olen, H. (2018). The Moral and Ethical rot at Mark Zuckerberg and Sherly Sandberg's Facebook: why would anyone be surprised? Washinton Post.
  8. Randy. (2019, July 26). You Can Be Unethical and Still Be Legal . Retrieved from
  9. Walter, E. (n.d.). How to Lead Like Zuck. Retrieved from
  10. Wixson, C. (2016, October 31). Mark Zuckerberg: Transformational Leader. Retrieved from
  11. Wood, S. (2018, September 6). 12 Suprising Ways Facebook, Google, and Disney Motivate Their Teams (without using money). Retrieved from
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